Luther Burbank Savings to take ex-Traverso's site

[caption id="attachment_23251" align="alignright" width="314" caption="A Luther Burbank Savings branch is proposed to replace the former Traverso's store in downtown Santa Rosa. The building is seen in this architectural rendering, which shows the former AT&T building in the background. (courtesy of TLCD Architecture)"][/caption]

SANTA ROSA -- Luther Burbank Savings, the largest Sonoma County-based financial institution with $3.5 billion in assets, is moving to the old Traverso's Gourmet Foods site in downtown Santa Rosa, doubling the size of its current headquarters branch to 6,000 square feet.

The Traverso's building is being remodeled according to the design of Don Tomasi of TLCD Architecture in Santa Rosa. The architectural firm also is working with the Hugh Futrell Corporation on the planed "Museum on the Square" project at the old AT&T building next door.

The Luther Burbank project is going to design review on Aug. 19.

[caption id="attachment_23252" align="alignleft" width="314" caption="Interior of the proposed bank branch"][/caption]

“If we get through, we would go to bid next February and be complete by late summer,” said architect Alan Butler, senior principal at TLCD.

Luther Burbank approached TLCD after seeing renderings of the Museum on the Square.

“We were very flattered,” said Mr. Butler. He said the building will have much more presence than what is currently there, particularly on Third Street where it is just a blank wall, though the primary entrance will be through the parking lot as it was at Traverso’s.

“It will be a dynamic landscape,” he said.

[caption id="attachment_23249" align="alignright" width="314" caption="Exterior, as seen from the transit mall"][/caption]

Quadriga Landscape Architecture and glass artist Ellen Blakeley are planning features that keep the building true to the institution’s name. Ms. Blakeley has designed glass panels with images of plants Mr. Burbank cultivated.

John Biggs, president and chief executive officer of Luther Burbank, said the savings bank is excited to be part of the downtown corridor improvement.

"We're excited to be part of the transformation of this area by revitalizing the building at 106 B St.," said Biggs. "Because the property is close to the Third Street off-ramp from Highway 101, Luther Burbank Savings will create a good first impression as people enter the heart of the city."

Traverso's moved out of the building late last year after 80 years in the location. The deli and wine shop cited reasons such as parking and the foot traffic from the transit mall as reasons for the move.

“I know Traverso's had issues,” said Mr. Biggs, “but we are fencing in the location and we will have more space for our customers. From practical point of view it will be more comfortable.”

Mr. Butler said construction is expected to take six to nine months, so the new office could open for business by the end of 2011.

Vic Trione, chairman of the bank said, "Luther Burbank Savings is looking forward to solid and continued growth, which depends on how well we meet the needs of current and future customers. Relocation of the branch to a larger site allows us to accommodate the anticipated growth, while underscoring our commitment to the community that has fostered our success."

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